A meeting has been called next week to investigate alleged organised street begging on the streets of Letterkenny.
A number of agencies will be coming together on Monday to discuss reports of ‘fraudsters’ begging on the street and intimidating shoppers.
Mayor of Letterkenny-Milford Donal ‘Mandy’ Kelly raised the issue last month after receiving reports of people sleeping rough in doorways and of people being bused into the town in the mornings to beg on main street Letterkenny, before being collected in the evenings.
Cllr Kelly said the legitimacy of the people involved must be confirmed.
Cllr Kelly told Donegal Daily: “This meeting is to not only determine and get to the bottom of legitimate street begging but I also want to ensure that we do our utmost best to ensure that nobody is left sleeping rough this Christmas. That’s something I’m eager to do is to help those in need.”
Representatives of the HSE, Gardaí, St Colmcille Hostel, North West Simon Community and the Letterkenny Chamber of Commerce have been asked to attend the workshop.
Meanwhile, gardaí say they are “looking into” a cross border and organised element of street begging in the town.
Gardai mounted an operation in November which had led to arrests being made for begging on November 14th and 21st.
Superintendent Sean Grant told the Joint Policing Committee last week that there is now an overarching investigation into the issue and he is limited to what he can say. Because these matters are before the courts, some aspects of the cases are now ‘sub judice’ which means they are under consideration by a judge.
But he did warn the public to be conscious and to give to reputable organisations and charities and to avoid any exploitation of people’s good nature.